She didn’t hurt herself. Although Mrs Carter’s falls are increasingly a problem, and it’s definitely something that needs looking at, for now, she just wants to be put back to bed and have breakfast.
‘So you used the dog blanket to keep warm?’ I say, whilst I transcribe basic information from a previous ambulance sheet.
‘She didn’t mind. She’s a darling. She usually cuddles up on the bed anyway. She’s hardly ever in her basket. It’s just for show, really.’
‘Where is Poppy now? She’s very quiet.’
‘In the lounge. Shall I let her through?’
‘Yeah, go on. I like dogs.’
‘Let her through, Derek. She loves to be where the action is.’
He goes out.
‘Poppy’s very well behaved,’ I say to her, putting the clipboard down and getting out the thermometer. ‘My dogs would be barking like crazy.’
‘She’s no bother.’
For some reason I’m expecting something small to come round the corner, maybe a Jack Russell or a Shi-Tzu. But there’s a thunderous rumbling along the hallway, and a huge, Apricot-coloured standard poodle crashes into the room. It’s a mad-looking thing, with a wig of frizzy hair, pom-poms on the end of its legs like boudoir slippers and a tail like a frayed piece of rope. The dog launches itself across the carpet, plants two paws in the middle of my chest, presses its nose against mine, and stares at me in extreme close-up, its raisin eyes crossing over with excitement.
‘Down Poppy!’ says Mrs Carter. ‘Get down!’
‘The dog drops back, but then sees my bag and immediately thrusts its snout deep inside. It looks up from time to time with its tongue hanging out as if it can’t wait to hand me a piece of kit.
‘Sorry about Poppy,’ says Mrs Carter.‘Don’t worry,’ I tell her. ‘It’s just like having a trainee.’